Healthy eating has become one of the top three trends in eating out, new research has found.
According to the latest Eating Out in Australia report, released by The Intermedia Group, healthy eating has increased by nearly 15 per cent in the past year reaching an all-time high with popularity among nearly 80 per cent of consumers.
On average Australians eat out two or three times a week, resulting in more than 50 million meals being eaten out each week.
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Cancer Council Queensland CEO Ms Chris McMillan said increasing demand for healthy options – whether in restaurants, as a takeaway meal or via home delivery – was promising.
“The report highlighted the top ten trends for eating out, which included a decline in less healthy food categories,” Ms McMillan said. “The desire for traditional fast food is declining, while healthier cuisines, like Japanese, are becoming more popular.
“While the findings are promising, we know that a majority of people still regularly exceed daily limits for recommended sugar and salt content, processed meats and foods high in saturated fats.
“In Queensland average annual eating out expenditure per household is $4,561, with spending in the fast food category greater than any other area, at $2,167.
“Our hope is that fast food outlets will rapidly develop the range of healthy food options on their menus and help to meet increasing demand for options that will not worsen our overweight and obesity epidemic.
“The trend data suggests growing awareness of the fact that an unhealthy diet increases a person’s risk of being overweight or obese, and of being diagnosed with a range of chronic diseases – including some cancers.
“We recommend Queenslanders limit the consumption of meals and snacks that are high in sugar, salt, saturated fat, and processed meats in order to lower their risks of cancer.
“We hope to continue seeing less Queenslanders opt for unhealthy options, and instead ensure the food being ordered is healthy and nourishing.
“The regular intake of takeaway foods high in saturated fat and salt will cause a range of health problems for Queenslanders.
“While obesity can be caused by a complex range of factors, we know that eating a healthy diet and limiting sugary, fatty and salty food and drinks is an important aspect of maintaining a healthy weight.”
Two-thirds of Queensland adults and one in four children are currently overweight or obese. 30 per cent of the adult population in Queensland is classified as obese.
Cancer Council has written to the Government recommending a range of strategies to support healthier communities, including the regulation of junk food marketing to children and restrictions on the supply of sugar-sweetened beverages in designated settings, such as hospitals and at children’s sporting events.
At least one-third of all cancers are preventable through lifestyle adjustments including eating a healthy diet, being physically active, reducing alcohol intake and maintaining a healthy weight.
More information about Cancer Council Queensland is available at cancerqld.org.au or 13 11 20.